Sun Media undergoes transformation

The launch of the Sun News channel provides the “missing piece” for the mediaco's cross-platform strategy, says Quebecor VP Philippe Guay.

This week’s launch of the Sun News channel and redesigned Sun Media newspapers and websites is the culmination of a process which began a year and a half ago for the Quebecor-owned company when it stopped using content from The Canadian Press newswire and launched its own wire agency, Philippe Guay, VP Toronto national sales, Quebecor Media tells MiC.

“The missing piece in the content puzzle for us was a broadcast network which would give us access to video content and allow us to exploit that on the broadcast side and push the content on the digital side,” he says.

Guay says Sun News, which is targeted at consumers aged 25 to 54, will fill a hole for viewers and advertisers that aren’t getting what they want from existing Canadian broadcasters.

“There are two segments of the audience which CTV and CBC aren’t capturing,” he explains. “A lot of the audience is flocking to US networks like FOX, CNN and MSNBC.”

The station will play host to news during the day, and convert to a US cable network talk show format between 5 and 10 p.m., with shows including The Daily Brief with host David Akin, talk show Charles Adler and Byline with Brian Lilley, says Guay.

A promotional campaign for Sun News is running across all of Quebecor’s media properties.

To coincide with the new channel, Sun Media has also launched completely redesigned online properties with the tablet user in mind. Creative on the sites was handled by Quebecor-owned, Montreal-based Nurun.

As well, Sun Media brought back its red circle logo and redesigned five of its newspaper titles.

Guay says the launch of Sun News, along with the redesigned print and digital properties, allows advertisers to purchase on one platform, or follow a program with a buy across all three: “If an advertiser wants to be associated with David Akin’s show at 6 p.m. he also writes a column and regular features for the Sun in print and online,” he says. “We’re able to create a campaign that will live across all platforms.”

Michael Power, publisher, The Toronto Sun and 24 Hours, tells MiC there are new advertising opportunities available on the Sun’s new websites but what he says is more important is how much easier it is to use. had 1.442 million unique visitors in March 2011, according to ComScore data.

“New advertising positions, such a big box and moveable leaderboard have been created, which I think will be well received,” he says. “A big benefit for advertisers is that we have changed things to make the site easier to access, and in the long term that is really going to increase traffic.”

Sun Media properties include the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun and 24 Hours and now the Sun News channel.